Ethiopia’s Chief of Staff of the Defense forces “attacked”, says PM Abiy

Other sources in social media claim Chief of Staff Seare Mekonen is shot-dead. Ethiopians concerned about the crisis like situation in the country.

Chief of Staff  - General Seare Mekonnen_ Ethiopia
Chief of Staff General Seare Mekonen. Source : EBC

June 22, 2019

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed appeared on the state broadcaster, Ethiopian Television, past midnight on Saturday, June 22, 2019.

Dressed in military fatigues, he told Ethiopians that there “was an attempted coup d’etat” in Bahir Dar and attacks on the icons of Amhara people  while they were having a meeting.” He said that there have been fatalities.

Then he went on to tell Ethiopians that Chief of staff the Defense forces, Seare Mekonnen, was attacked on Saturday evening – apparently in the capital Addis Ababa.

He added that Seare was killed in connection with what he called “coup d’etat” in Bahir Dar. Seare was, according to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, was coordinating a mission in response to the situation in Bahir Dar.

The Prime Minister did not name as to who is behind the “attack” on Ethiopia’s Chief of Staff who was appointed to the position in June 2018 after Abiy Ahmed removed the former chief of staff, Samora Younis.

All he said was that “he was attacked by mercenaries who are close to him,”  leaving the identities parties who are said to be responsible for the attack rather blurry.  However, he said that the individuals involved in the attack are in custody. He also claimed that people responsible for the killing are just individuals and it is not the case of one ethnic group attacking the other.

And he pleaded to Ethiopians to refrain from buying into news  that not credible and wait for “verified information from the government.”

As well, Abiy Ahmed stated that he has been receiving assistance offers from neighboring countries and said that Ethiopia is at this point capable of dealing with the situation on its own.   

From his speech, Abiy Ahmed tends to see “the attack” as an effort to trigger the disintegration of Ethiopia and vowed that it will not succeed. He went on to call on the Defense Force to remain united and defend Ethiopia.

Information circulating on social media, however, claim that the Chief of Staff is shot dead. Also, it is also rumored that president of the Amhara region of Ethiopia, Ambachew Mekonen, is dead, and some of his colleagues who were reportedly sitting in a meeting with him were wounded.

It has also been clear from numerous social media posts that many politicized Ethiopians are not buying the alleged story of coup d’etat in Amhara region which is being linked to General Asamenew Tsige. “Why would Asamenew Tsige carry out a coup d’etat” is a question that political pundits on social media seem to question. The description “coup d’etat” itself is rejected as an inappropriate and growing number of Ethiopians in social media rather seem to be skeptical of the narrative that the Ethiopian government is projecting.

Meanwhile, authorities and notable figures in the Amhara region of Ethiopia are calling on activists and reporters to handle the developing story with care.

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